Hearst Family Update

July 2, 2021

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Principal's Message

Good afternoon, Owl Families,

With the start of July, the 2020-2021 school year has officially drawn to a close and I couldn't be happier to say, WE MADE IT!! Thank you for all that you've done to make this year like no other as successful as possible for our kids, each other, and our community. There's an unattributed quote that says "Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful," and while I agree that a life without any challenges would be relatively boring, I know I'm ready for a summer and new school year with a bit fewer challenges than we faced this year!

In the weeks ahead, I hope that you and your kids make time to rest, relax, recharge, recover, and heal from the year that we've had. And when you're ready to start thinking about the coming year, know that I'll be sending out a family update on August 2 with additional information to prepare us for a joyful and successful upcoming school year.

Thank you for your continued partnership and support, enjoy the holiday weekend, and see you in August,


PS - Thank you as well for the end of year cards and treats! I'm so appreciative of your generosity and kindness!

News and Announcements from Hearst

Upcoming Key Dates

July 12-30 - Hearst Summer Acceleration Academy

August 18 - Back to School Information Session for Families, 9:00-10:00am & 7:00-8:00pm
August 20 - First Day for 10-month Staff

August 27 - Open House for Students & Families in PM

August 30 - First Day of SY21-22 for K-5

September 2 & 3 - First Days of SY21-22 PK classes (Half of class comes Thursday & the second half comes Friday - more details will be shared in August)

Quick Updates

  • Term 4 report cards are being mailed to families today and will be published on the Aspen Parent Portal on July 7.
  • Families are discovering chargers and styluses tucked away in pockets of bags and backpacks, as well as some treats that kids tucked away for later, so please check your child's backpack one last time before you put it away for the summer. Thanks!

Returning DCPS-issued Devices and Chargers

If your child borrowed a DCPS device and/or charger and you haven't yet returned it, the office is open from 8:00am-4:00pm Monday through Friday for you to do so. Returning the devices will allow up to update them over the summer and ensure that they are ready for use in the coming school year.

The 2021-2022 School Year at Hearst (as of July 2, 2021)

As DC Public Schools and Hearst plans for a full reopening to in person learning in August with all staff teaching in person, we are focused on enhancing the school experience and student learning by: strengthening relationships between students, teachers, and families; providing joyful opportunities at school that accelerate learning; continuing our unwavering focus on health and safety; and addressing inequities through systemic change. We also plan to offer before and after care and will be partnering with a new organization in the coming year to provide these services.

Please read below for an update on the health and safety measures that will be in place for in-person learning as well as a new virtual option available for eligible students for School Year 2021-2022.

Back-to-School Health & Safety Measures

For SY21-22, here’s what families can expect at school to maintain a safe environment for in-person learning:

• HVAC enhancements allow for well-ventilated spaces at every school, including state-of-the-art HEPA filters in classrooms and air quality sensors throughout the building.

• Practice safe routines: All staff, students, and visitors must wear a mask or face covering, and daily PPE and hygiene supplies will be provided.

• Enhanced cleaning protocols for high-touch surfaces, and a deep cleaning completed after a suspected or reported COVID-19 case.

• Space arrangements: Students should be separated as far as possible, and individual desks and tables are to be facing the same direction to the extent feasible.

• Student meals: Pre-K and Kindergarten students will eat in the classroom and all other grades will eat in the cafeteria. Social distancing should be followed while eating and drinking, to the extent feasible.

• Student cohort interactions will be limited to the extent feasible, but there will be no cap for student or staff cohort interactions in any grade.

• Screen for illness: Students and staff will complete a daily “Ask, Ask, Look” screening, but temperatures will not be taken upon arrival at school.

• COVID-19 reporting protocols: Schools will report positive cases with a school community if a person has been in the building during their infectious period, along with a quarantine protocol. Additional information about asymptomatic testing will be shared over the summer.

Virtual Learning for Students with Medical Need

We hope and expect the overwhelming majority of our students will return to full-time in-person learning in the fall. However, we know there are students who have a documented medical condition who need to continue virtual learning. To support these students, DCPS will offer virtual instruction for a limited number of students who meet medical eligibility requirements. Virtual instruction based on medical need will be available across all grades.

You can review the medical eligibility form and read a FAQ for families at https://dcpsreopenstrong.com/sy21-22/virtual.

After the https://octo.quickbase.com/db/brg2gc9m6, families will be notified once their virtual learning request is processed. You can also drop a completed medical form off at the school. DCPS will safeguard information in alignment with all privacy laws. Families will be asked to provide their student’s name and ID number on the registration form. We encourage those who need virtual learning to complete this process by July 6 to help us create class schedules for the fall.

Enrolling at Hearst

Enrollment season has kicked off and you can re-enroll your child for the 2021-2022 school year entirely online! All families are encouraged to re-enroll early to help us better prepare for next year. To do so, please complete the following three steps:

1. Complete the enrollment packet: https://enrolldcps.dc.gov/node/76

2. Provide proof of DC residency: https://osse.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/osse/publication/attachments/2021-22School Year DC Residency Verification Form.pdf

3. Submit the completed enrollment packet and proof of DC residency to your school.

4. When enrollment is complete, you’ll receive an email like the one pictured below with a message confirming completion.

We also are happy to help you in any way so that you can check re-enrollment off your summer to-do list. Please reach out to Manik.Hinchey@k12.dc.gov for this support. Thanks again to you and your family for being part of our school community. It is an honor to serve your family, and we look forward to our partnership with you and your child in the coming school year.

Tentative Staffing Assignments for SY21-22 - Updated

As we plan for a full reopening to in person learning in August with all staff teaching in person, I'm pleased to share tentative staffing assignments for the upcoming school year:

PK - Ms. Dawkins & Ms. Fraser; Ms. Morales & Ms. Haith

K - Ms. Clark & Ms. Singh; Ms. Gray & Ms. Cole; Ms. Prince & Ms. Evans

1st - Ms. Schiers, Ms. Volpe, and a new to Hearst teacher to staff our third 1st grade homeroom

2nd - Ms. Boyle; Ms Solms (DCPS veteran, New to Hearst); Ms. Thompson (DCPS veteran, new to Hearst)

3rd - Ms. Burleigh (Math/Science); Ms. Halpern (ELA/Social Studies)

4th - Ms. Duvall (ELA/Social Studies); Ms. Wiggins (Math/Science)

5th - Ms. Dilley (ELA/Social Studies); a new to Hearst teacher for math/science

All other SY21-22 staff are slated to remain in their positions in the coming school year and while we have selected candidates for the vacancies listed above as well as the World Language, Social Worker, and 3-5 CES Partner Teacher positions, until they receive their official offer letters from DCPS, we are unable to share their names here. Stay tuned for additional information about our new staff in our summer updates!

Reminder: Staff Transitions

Closing out the school year also means saying goodbye to staff who will be transitioning to other schools in the coming year. Below are goodbye messages from the staff who will be moving on from Hearst at the conclusion of this school year. Please join me in thanking all of them for their contributions to Hearst and wishing them all the best in their new adventures!

Tandra Brown, Social Worker

I am writing you today to inform you that I will be leaving Hearst at the end of the 20-21 school year. I am thankful for the many connections that I have made in my time here and for all that we have accomplished through our partnerships! I am proud of the work we have been able to do together and so proud of the progress your child has made! It has been a joy to watch them grow! I am thankful for how the Hearst community welcomed me 3 years ago and for all you've done to support me in my role as social worker here. I wish each of you the very best! I will still be with DCPS and transitioning over the summer so please feel free to reach out with any needs and I will do my best to support or lead you in the right direction.

Cristina Cantillo-Show, Spanish & ELL Teacher

Hola Hearst Community,

It was a great pleasure to teach Spanish and support the ELL team at Hearst these past two years. We learned so many things during this time! Amazing Hearst families I cannot thank you enough for the support and the appreciation I received from you all and the community.

I just want to share with you about my plans for SY 21-22, and it is with a heavy heart that I am letting you know I have accepted a new role as an ELL teacher at Truesdell Elementary. It was a difficult decision, but this move will allow me to focus primarily on ELL along with being closer home. I want you all to know that I absolutely LOVED being a Spanish teacher at Hearst. Working at Hearst Elementary has been one of the best teaching experiences of my career so far.

My dear Hearst students I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to be your Spanish teacher for the past two years. Not only your Spanish skills have improved, but you have grown up every day becoming such amazing individuals. I LOVED coming to work every day and guiding your motivation to learn Spanish. I am truly going to miss each and every one of you!

Take care and keep learning Spanish!

Wishing you all the best in the future!


Cristina Cantillo-Show

Josh Levin, 5th Grade Math/Science Teacher

Hearst Families,

I am moving to a different DCPS location, where I will be taking on a role as a math and data coach, while also still having an opportunity to teach 5th grade math. This was an incredibly difficult decision, as I have spent seven incredible years at Hearst, but I’m so excited to take this next step in my career. Thank you to all the families and coworkers that encouraged and supported me as I grew from a brand new elementary school teacher to a wise old owl. I hope to see you all continue to thrive in the future!

Best wishes,


Emily Loughead, 5th Grade ELA Teacher

This will be my last year at Hearst, and I am so thankful for the love and support throughout my time here. I am moving to New York City this summer to complete a Literacy Specialist Master's program from Teachers College at Columbia. The Hearst community has been an incredible place to spend my past five years teaching and I have grown so much as an educator and partner from the support of families like you all. I will miss being a Hearst Owl and wish all the best for our students as they return to school next year. I hope to come back and visit soon but feel free to stay in touch! My DCPS email will no longer be active after the last day of school, but my personal email is erealoughead@gmail.com.

Ian Norden, 3-5 CES Partner Teacher

Hello Hearst Family,

Unfortunately, I will not be returning to Hearst next school year as my graduate program becomes full time. I appreciate all the support and I received from this community and hope to see you all again as I continue my career in DCPS. It has been a pleasure getting to know all the Hearst staff members and families throughout this past year. This time next year I will be fully licensed to teach elementary education and hold a graduate degree in Elementary Ed.

Thank you all so much,


Dylan Stacey, 3rd Grade Math/Science Teacher

Hello Hearst Families,

It's very bittersweet that I share this news that I won't be returning next year. My wife and I are moving to California, which is something we've considered for some time and finally decided to take the plunge. I'm excited for this next adventure and happy I'll be much closer to my family on the west coast, though feel sad to be leaving my Hearst family, as well. I feel so lucky to have found this job and have truly enjoyed my 5 years as part of the Hearst community. Thank you all for everything!



News and Announcements from DCPS

Chancellor Ferebee's Summer Checklist for Families

To meet our commitment to #RecoverStrong, here are a few things families we are asking families to do this summer:

  • Enroll your child for the 2021-2022 School Year at enrolldcps.dc.gov or call your school on how to complete enrollment forms in person.
  • Connect with your child’s doctor to schedule an annual wellness visit to make sure your child is healthy and ready to head back to the classroom before the first day of school, including that their childhood immunizations are up to date.
  • Make a plan for anyone in your household who is 12 or older to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. If you get your first dose at the free, walk-up clinics at Anacostia or Ron Brown High Schools by July 17, you will receive a $51 gift card; even students!
  • Sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge and stay tuned for a special opportunity for DCPS students in grades 2 to 5 to grow their literacy skills using a new app.
  • Review the information for afterschool programming for next school year (registration is now open) or check out the medical eligibility requirements for virtual instruction (application due by July 6).
  • Join your school for summer events such as family cookouts and movie nights, open houses and building tours, and meet-and-greets with teachers and classmates.
  • Look out for Parent University sessions that will start again in mid-August to make sure you are ready with critical information and resources for the first day of school.

DC Reads with Amira

DCPS is partnering with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education, D.C. Public Library, HMH, our region’s professional sports teams and others for the Read 20: DC Reads with Amira Initiative to provide an opportunity to support your child’s reading skills over the summer! Through this partnership, every DCPS student entering the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th grades next year has access this summer to Amira: a personalized, automated reading tutor. Participating students will also receive exciting recognition and prizes. Information and login details are below.

What is Amira?

Amira is the first intelligent reading tutor that provides in-the-moment help to accelerate reading improvement. Once your child is logged into Amira, the software recommends stories for them to read. As your child reads out loud, Amira listens and, when she sees an opportunity to reinforce a reading skill, Amira provides personalized help, drawing from over 30 different research-based tutoring techniques, developed by leading reading experts.

Amira is available anytime, accessible through Clever on your child’s school-issued device. So your child can read with Amira at home, at the library, or anywhere with a WiFi connection.

What is the Read 20: DC Reads with Amira Initiative?

Read 20: DC Reads with Amira is designed to encourage children to practice reading as much as possible throughout the summer. From June 24th to August 30th, your child is encouraged to read with Amira at least 3 stories a day, 3 times per week, for 8 weeks (a total of 72 stories or more over the course of the summer).

Research has shown that children who read with Amira frequently (about 45-minutes per week) have more than doubled their reading growth in 2 months. As your child reads and grows with Amira, we hope to send the message that:

  • Reading is fun!

  • It’s okay to make mistakes

  • Your child isn’t expected to know all the words! They should try their best to sound out words or skip them if needed - Amira will learn over time the best ways to help them.

Participating students who read regularly with Amira during the summer will be eligible to receive recognition and prizes - including special opportunities from top D.C.-area professional sports teams (more details to come!).

Who is eligible to participate?

Students attending DC Public Schools who are entering the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade next year are invited to participate. Your child is ready to read with Amira if they can read a simple story, including 3-letter words (e.g., can, mom, bag) and high-frequency sight words (e.g., am, see, is) on their own without adult help.

How to access Amira: You can access Amira on Clever!

  • Using your school-issued device, go to your school portal
  • Open it, and begin to “read a story!”

Want to learn more? Visit Amira’s DC support page at https://www.amiralearning.com/dcps

  • Watch the video “Family Training
  • Review all the support pages for how to use Amira, including:
  • How Amira works
  • Tech setup
  • FAQs
  • Send us your questions! This Chat button in the bottom right corner of your screen connects you with a member of the Amira team who can help you throughout the summer.
  • Come talk with us! Amira will hold office hours for DC parents throughout the summer Mondays at 4pm and Thursdays at 10AM. Link: https://bit.ly/3vnpM3R
  • (Or, log in to Zoom and use the Meeting ID: 88545680497 & Passcode: 015991 )

Pre-K Family Toolkit

A virtual Pre-K Family Toolkit is available to all incoming and current DCPS families! This Toolkit contains a wide variety of standard-aligned resources for families that will help families prepare their rising Pre-K student for a smooth and successful transition to school in the fall. Please click on the toolkit link to view it.

DCPS Summer Meals

This summer, youth 18 and under have continued access to grab-and-go meals at several DC Public School locations throughout the city. Effective July 6, youth, or parents/guardians on their behalf, can receive up to 3 breakfast and 3 lunch meals at a time at the following locations. Meal site hours will remain Monday – Friday (10AM – 2PM). Current meal locations will remain open until summer meal distribution begins on July 6.

Reminder: P-EBT Update for Families

The Department of Human Services has begun issuing Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) benefits to eligible students for this fiscal year. For all P-EBT related questions please visit the DHS P-EBT website or call the P-EBT call center at 1-877-4DC-PEBT. Food and Nutrition Services encourages all families with students who do not attend a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school or who do not receive SNAP to complete a FARM application as soon as possible to ensure maximum P-EBT benefits are received.